Results 301–350 of 355 found.
If the US were in the middle of an economic boom, like in the mid-1980s or late-1990s, it would be very easy to be thankful in the week ahead. Instead, a cornucopia of complaints seems to accompany what has been a plodding economic recovery, what we call the Plow Horse Economy.
The Worst Recovery Ever? For Part-Time Jobs
Mark Twain has been attributed with saying “If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed.” And given the media’s portrayal of the job market recovery over the past six-and-a-half years, we can see where he was coming from.
It's the Domestic Spending; Stupid
Washington DC is out of control. In Orwellian Newspeak, we hear liberals say tax cuts, “cost too much,” but deficit spending is an “investment.” If GOP politicians reduce spending growth from already inflated forecasts, they call it a “‘conservative’ spending cut.” And, politicians from both sides of the aisle pat themselves on the back for “working so hard” to reduce the deficit when it’s really the US taxpayer that provided the muscle. Surging tax receipts have lowered deficits in recent years, not fiscal discipline.
Higher Rates, Higher Stocks
What’s happened over the past few weeks is not supposed to happen, at least if you use traditional academic-style discount models to assess the stock market. Whether you prefer a dividend discount model or an earnings discount model, both say higher interest rates should reduce the value of equities.
Light This Candle
The US stock market reminds us of Alan Shepard in 1961. Exasperated by the long wait in his Mercury Spacecraft “Freedom 7” while NASA engineers fiddled, he said, “Why don’t you fix your little problem and light this candle?” They finally did and he became the first American to go into space.
Fed Sets Stage For December Rate Hike
Today’s statement from the Federal Reserve sets the stage for a December rate hike. The key issue is whether the next two reports on the labor market, the one coming out late next week and the one released in early December, show a reacceleration in jobs gains or continued drops in the unemployment rate. At present, we expect both, which suggests the Fed will start a long-awaited series of rate hikes in December.
The Labor Market Mystery
The most important economic report of the next couple of weeks is not the GDP report on Thursday, which, as we said last week, is likely to show mediocre real growth of 1.5%. Strip out inventories, trade, and government and “core” real GDP growth should be around 3.5%.
The Bull Market Still Lives
Stock market corrections (usually defined as 10% pullbacks) are hard to understand. Often they happen in the midst of long-term bull markets. But why? Is it like getting the flu? Is it just emotion? Or, are corrections a necessary cleansing out of excess optimism? Our answer: we don't really know.
Government Taxi Bubble Causes Credit Union Failure
Since the financial crisis, we have been inundated with the idea that the private sector is to blame for the misery that has befallen the American public. Countless politicians have appeared on TV or hit the campaign trail and the message is always the same; greed caused the great recession and the only solution is to trust the government more. Very seldom do we hear that government might have helped cause the housing bubble and the bank failures that resulted.
The Uber-Dove vs Black Swans
You couldn’t have missed it. Only stages full of GOP presidential candidates or the Super Bowl have ever had more media attention. Yes, we are talking about the Federal Reserve’s thundering announcement on Thursday – of nothing. The Fed decided to keep interest rates at zero, for at least the next few months, after holding them near zero for over six years.
It is long past time for the Federal Reserve to start raising short-term rates. The unemployment rate is already very close to the Fed’s (new, lower) long-term projection of 4.9% and set to fall further in the next year, even if the Fed had already started lifting rates. Nominal GDP growth – real GDP growth plus inflation – is up at a 4.1% annual rate in the past two years, slightly exceeding the Fed’s long-run projection of 4% growth.
The Fed: More Noise Than Meaning
Get on with it already! Don’t get us wrong, we know this is the “Super Bowl” for business journalism (anyone have tix to the ESPN party?), but raising rates from 1/8th to 3/8ths of 1%, after six years of economic recovery should be a no-brainer. Our suggestion: spend the week analyzing companies and investment products. Don’t get sucked into the idea that there is some genius trading strategy for how to deal with this. That’s right; ignore it. Don’t read the statement and don’t watch the press conference.
Everything's Not Bad
Have you noticed? Everything’s bad these days. On February 25, 2015, the Washington Post wonkblog posted a piece titled “Why rising wages might be bad news.” Last week, on September 1st, after another strong month of car and truck sales, the Wall Street Journal published a story “The Bad News in Strong Car Sales.”
This Correction is Technical, Not Fundamental
The only people more giddy with anticipation are the stock market pundits looking for The Big Short – II. It’s an eagerly anticipated sequel of the Panic of 2008. The S&P 500 is tumbling again today, more than 10% below the peak in May.
Financial System Healing
Every month, the National Association of Realtors reports on existing home sales, which are closings on previously-owned homes. These sales have been doing very well lately, up in four of the past five months and up almost 10% from a year ago. We expect further gains when the next report comes out Thursday morning.
Even Garth Can't Argue About Liftoff
Plow On, Garth! Time for Liftoff, Wayne! The first report on Q2 real GDP showed Plow Horse annualized growth of 2.3%, exactly the same as the average growth rate in the past year. Now that’s the definition of a Plow Horse report.
GDP Rebounds in Q2
The US economy rebounded in the second quarter from the supposed decline in real GDP in Q1. We say “supposed decline” in Q1 because the government has had persistent problems seasonally adjusting GDP, tending to underestimate growth in the first quarter each year while overestimating growth in the middle two quarters.
Politicians Should Stop Giving Investment Advice
For the past six years, the conventional wisdom has predicted the end of the world. On the left, they say “Tea Party austerity” is a catastrophe and an “income divide” spells doom. On the right, the election of President Obama made collapse inevitable. Anything and everything that could be spun negatively, has been.
Stocks Are Still Cheap
You know those TV shows – the ones about ice trucking, fishing in Alaska, or digging for gold. They’re made to bring out these interesting jobs, but also the danger. They leave you hanging, and break for commercial, just when the truck starts to slide on a bridge, or just when a huge wave is approaching.
Fed Will Kick The Can, But Shouldn't
Wednesday – the day people have been talking about for months – is fast approaching. The Federal Reserve will announce its policy decision on Wednesday and futures markets don’t expect any change. Nonetheless, that’s a forecast of what the Fed will do, not what it should do. We think the US economy is long past the point where short-term interest rates should be held at zero.
Don't Deny The Jobs Recovery
You would think that after 63 straight months of growth in private sector payrolls, the longest streak since the 1930s, everyone would agree that the job-market recovery is for real. But, that ain’t the case. A quick Google search still uncovers a whole bunch of pessimistic appraisals of jobs and the economy.
Inflation: Dormant, Not Dead
Last month we explained why the dreaded threat of hyperinflation hasn’t materialized, and likely wouldn’t materialize, in spite of the huge expansion of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet the past several years, including QE1, 2, and 3.
Taxes Culprit Behind Slow Sales
Last week’s report on retail sales in April came in weaker than most economists expected, with no change from the pace of sales in March. As a result, the chorus calling for the Federal Reserve to postpone the start of rate hikes beyond June, already loud, grew even louder.
Key Seven Weeks Starts Now
Don’t be confused by the Federal Reserve acknowledging the obvious slowdown in economic growth in the first quarter. The door to a June rate hike is still open. Not wide open, but much more open than most analysts and investors think.
June Rate Hike Still on Tap
According to a recent survey by the Wall Street Journal, most economists think a June rate hike is unlikely. In fact, four times as many think the Federal Reserve won’t start raising rates until September or later as currently think the Fed will start in June.
Don't Fret Student Debt
For the past six years, investors have faced one fear after another. One of those fears has been the more than $1 trillion of student loan debt outstanding. This debt is up 160% since the start of 2006 (and growing) while the share of student loans with payments 90 days late, or longer, has risen from 6.4% to 11.3%.
Resist the Rate-Hike Huff
In June 2013, then-Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke hinted the time to “moderate” quantitative easing was approaching. The press called this “tapering”. The Fed would end QE gradually, by slowly shrinking its asset purchases rather than going cold turkey.
Big Government, Little Buns
You’re kidding, right? It’s 2015. How can a populated country run out of bread? It would be understandable if a natural disaster or devastating war caused a shortage, but neither of these is happening in Venezuela – and they seem to be running out of bread. Why? Well, Socialism, of course.
Fed Has Less Patience For ZIRP
Economic data will have something for everyone this week. The ISM reports (manufacturing and non-manufacturing) will likely be held down by unusually harsh weather and the Port closures. But, autos sales should remain strong and January jobs data are set for a gain close to 250,000.
Strong Dollar: Good, Not Bad
In fifteen short days, the bull market will be six years old. And, we’ve never seen such a steep wall of worry. Nouriel Roubini called it a “dead cat bounce.” Many said the recession wouldn’t end until 2010, maybe 2011. Supply-siders said the “Fiscal Cliff” would do us in. Keynesians said “The Spending Sequester” would end the boom.
QE and Currency Wars: A Theory With No Evidence
Some analysts think that central bank policy (specifically, quantitative easing) is the only thing that matters. They overlook innovation, investment, and just plain old hard work and argue that stock prices, interest rates and economic performance are driven by central bank stimulus. These analysts say the world has returned to a Depression-era game of competitive devaluation (some call it “currency wars”).
Rate Hikes Still A Few Meetings Away
No one expected the Federal Reserve to make any changes to monetary policy at today?s meeting and there were no surprises. The Fed continued to say it would be ?patient? before raising short-term interest rates, which means the Fed is very unlikely to raise rates through at least April.
GDP, Strong Again
With all the focus on Europe in general and Greece in particular, it?s important to keep in mind that the US economy continues to move forward. After real GDP dropped in the first quarter of last year, some analysts were predicting another recession. By contrast, we said the drop was due to unusually harsh winter weather and the economy would rebound quickly.
Davos - And the Euro
Perfect! Last week, the Swiss National Bank in reaction to market pressure, ended its crawling peg against the euro. The Swiss Franc surged 40% versus the euro, before settling around 20% higher, and roughly 17% against the already strong dollar. So, guess what? Attendees at The World Economic Forum ? an annual gaggle of the global financial elite held in Davos, Switzerland, which starts today ? just saw their trip get a lot more expensive.
Bullish, For the Right Reasons
Last week, we forecast the S&P 500 will hit 2,375 at the end of this year (link), so we?re obviously bullish on stocks. Our case is based on fundamentals, specifically, the long-term link between stocks, earnings, interest rates, and the economy as a whole. However, just because we?re bullish, doesn?t mean we agree with every bullish argument that?s out there.
2015: More Investment and Profits, Higher Rates, Dollar and Stocks
Contrary to popular opinion, business investment is a key factor behind the current recovery. Productive investments have boosted profits to record highs and, in turn, those profits have driven stock prices to record highs. They should continue to do so.
Rate Hikes To Start in 2015
Unlike most meetings, todays actions by the Federal Reserve were chock full of implications for the future course of monetary policy. At long last, the Fed finally removed the language in its statement that short-term interest rates will remain at essentially zero for a considerable time and replaced it with language that the Fed will be patient before starting to increase rates.
Oil Price: Looks Reasonable
A former economic colleague, and mentor, used to say: In the Bible, it says an ounce of gold will buy a fine suit of clothing. We have read the Bible, and we havent found this, although there could be some high-powered math, using talents, cubits, frankincense and myrrh that make it true.
Let's Finally Fix The CBO
If they came back today, the Founders of the United States wouldnt recognize the government they created 225 years ago. They put safeguards in place separation of powers, a bicameral legislature and reserved powers for the states to prevent it from growing so large.
Results 301–350 of 355 found.